High School Girls Soccer: La Mirada comes up empty against Downey

Downey’s Jocelyn Maldonado, left, passes to a teammate as La Mirada’s Madeline Panozzo closes in during Tuesday’s game. (Steven Carr / Staff Photographer)

By Dave Werstine, Staff Writer

DOWNEY – With Downey and visiting La Mirada highs finally putting pressure on each other, it was just a matter of who was going to crack first.

The calm and confident Vikings stood strong and the offense produced two quick goals midway through the second half to lead Downey to a 3-0 victory in a CIF Southern Section Division 4 semifinal Tuesday night.

The win propelled the Vikings (22-4-2) to a third consecutive trip to a CIF-SS final. After losing in 2011, they won their first championship in Division 5 last year.

It was that postseason experience that was the difference Tuesday and, for that matter, the entire season for second-seeded Downey.

“I think, from the beginning of the season, being in the finals before, that the girls were not going to be intimidated by being in a division higher,” Vikings coach Rachel Godfrey said. “They knew (winning the title) was possible. I think it was a huge part.”

Downey will face Quartz Hill, which upset top-seeded South Torrance 1-0 in overtime, in the championship game. CIF-SS will announce the date and time of the game today.

Godfrey, asked about the Vikings’ chances of repeating, smiled and said, “We are really starting to come together.”

The semifinal was a rematch of a game Downey won 1-0 on Dec. 21. That was the last time La Mirada (17-4-7) lost a game. It had gone 13-0-5 since then.

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